The question that every politician is asked whenever they make a proposal for something that will improve the well-being of the people of the UK or other countries is 'How are you going to pay for it?'
Journalists around the world think that this is the killer question that they can use to stop any additional government spending on any project however worthwhile it might seem to the population of a country at large. It is as if the journalists in question see themselves as the front-line attack troops for neoclassical economics or neoliberal economics, both of which exist to advance the cause of financialised capitalism and the reduction of the size of the state.
The ultimate purpose of the Tax Research UK blog is now to assist politicians and others who want to be able to answer that question in a simple way that counters the attack from whoever is asking it.
In addition to the daily blog posts that are intended to address this issue within the context of ongoing political and economic debate, Tax Research UK, its partner Finance for the Future, and the authors behind them both (Richard Murphy, Colin Hines and Jacqueline Murphy) are tackling this issue in three ways.
Firstly, we are creating a glossary of economics, accounting and tax that will explain the key terms that anyone might need to understand if they are to eventually tackle the arguments of those dedicated to undermining the society in which we live. By making this as accessible as possible and by hyperlinking all the entries in it, both within the glossary itself and to the blog to which it is attached, it is hoped that this will add to the understanding of readers of this blog, students, and others who wish to understand what is being said about the modern economy and how it really works.
Secondly, we are going to publish a series of commentaries on the key neoliberal myths that are rolled out time and again by those who seek to oppose the creation of a state that can deliver the security and well-being that all those who live within it deserve. There is more on this planned series here.
Thirdly we will tackle the question of how we do pay for the government we want and deserve by publishing as full an explanation of how we might pay for it as we can. This is an ongoing project, but one which we think is key to the reclamation of the state as a power for delivering social, economic and personal well-being for the people living in any country. The publication of this will begin when sufficient progress on the glossary and the myths has been made, but the planning is already well under way.
As a journalist should say, watch this space.